Getting your kids to focus on healthy eating habits can be a challenge in a world where fast food and snack commercials are thrown at them daily on television. The secret is to make learning about nutrition fun and interesting rather than just telling them how to eat. Kids love to interact, and letting them be active participants in making wise food choices can be the start of a lifelong journey of healthy eating.
Start by reading books together
What toddler doesn't love to snuggle up with a parent and read a fun book together? There are plenty of books available for teaching kids healthy eating habits. Most toddlers never tire of reading certain books repeatedly, so include a few healthy eating books in with some other favorite books your child enjoys.
Look for kids healthy eating habit books with funny titles or that rhyme to keep thing interesting. Books with silly titles or rhymes will make it easy for your toddler to remember the message taught in the book.
Turn it into a game
Start your own grocery store shopping game with your toddler. Select a few new healthy snack and recipe ideas to prepare for meals. Make a grocery list by using food stickers for fruits and vegetables and have your toddler help find the items in the grocery store.
Allow your toddler to choose one new fruit or vegetable to try each week at the grocery store. Another game a toddler will enjoy is a color match game. Ask your toddler to find one green vegetable or two yellow fruits and vegetables, etc.
Use meals as teaching tools
Toddlers can help wash produce, arrange fruit trays, or select which vegetables they want on a homemade pizza. Getting them involved in food prep and cooking at a young age will teach them healthy cooking skills to last a lifetime. It's also a good time to teach them food and kitchen safety tips.
You can also let them decorate their dinner plate by encouraging them to fill half the plate with colorful vegetables and the second side with meat and starchy foods. As you prepare your plates together, choose one food item on their plate and look up the nutrition facts about that specific food.
It's never too early to start your toddler on the road to good nutrition. With a little creativity and some guidance, teaching your child about healthy eating habits will be a fun activity you can pursue together. Your efforts will pay on in the reward of better health for you and your child.